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The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

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The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:40 pm

OK, I’ve struggled with this one for a week. Last Saturday Mrs-Bob_Rx and I attend a wonderful concert at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The concert was the New Orlean’s-based Hot 8 Jazz group. Prior to the concert we had dinner at The Mark Tap & Grill in the Eddy Street Commons complex. The Mark has set up a 10% off the tab deal with the performing arts center for selected concerts, and this was one of them, so we decided to eat there. Why I’ve been struggling is that I actually liked the food at The Mark Tap & Grill, as did my wife, but the service and the general treatment was, well, at best indifferent and at worse, discriminatory.

We began our meal with steamed clams & mussels, which came in a vegetable broth. They were hot, and clearly the chef took some time with the preparation as all of the clams and mussels were open, there were no dead ones as you often run into. My martini was excellent, dry and served as I ordered it. I had a marvelous white ocean fish over whole-wheat cous-cous with dried tomatoes and seasonal vegetables. It was well cooked, nicely prepared and presented on the plate, and wonderful to eat. The Mark Tap & Grill prides itself on having different takes on traditional “comfort foods”, and Mrs-Bob_Rx had salmon cakes with peas and mashed potatoes, which she truly enjoyed.

So, what am I struggling with here? Well, the general attitude of the place seems to be oriented towards the college crowd. Now, obviously, a block away from Notre Dame’s campus, you would expect this, but the orientation carried through into the quality of the service.

When we arrived (on time) for our 6:00pm reservations the dining area was far less than half full, with plenty of the nicer tables by windows open. We were instead seated toward the back of the dining area and away from the windows. I might have bought that this was done to balance tables for wait staff, except that both my wife and I noticed that pattern continuing throughout the time we were there. Groups who came in with only middle-aged or older diners alone were seated where we were, while parties with younger diners were seated in the windows tables. The service staff, while they delivered our drinks and food in a timely way, clearly was paying more attention and giving better service consistently to those diners with younger people in their parties. For example, I had to signal the waitress several times in order to get water refilled and so forth.

In the end, this sort of treatment of some types of diners seems to be counterproductive and, well, not in line with a marketing program the restaurant has started with the performing arts center. Who precisely do they believe will be attending a lot of these concerts and possibly dining at their restaurant? Just the students? With two drinks, an appetizer and two entrees, the tab even after the discount came to $85. That is a bit steep for students, even for the Notre Dame student crowd. Truthfully, Mrs-Bob_Rx and I won’t be darkening the door of The Mark Tap & Grill for a long time, if ever again, which is a shame, really.
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby BobbyBeetleMishawaka » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:45 pm

So you believe they were thinking "Let's keep the old farts away from the windows so they don't scare the pedestrians--potential customers--away"?
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:57 pm

BobbyBeetleMishawaka wrote:So you believe they were thinking "Let's keep the old farts away from the windows so they don't scare the pedestrians--potential customers--away"?


BBM, therein lies the problem. I don't know what the management of the place was thinking. Is this a unwritten policy or just the actions of some people who happened to be staffing the place last Saturday? I just don't know. I do know that it wasn't just one or two examples of it happening. In the 75 minutes it took for us to dine, counting us as the first incident, we saw five groups of older diners seated as we were, and at least four with younger diners moved to the windows tables. We didn't see any contrary examples.
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:42 pm

I have had the exact same experience at The Mark although both times were at lunchtime. The food is incredible but our waitress was downright rude. Both times, we were led to be seated in the back and both times, I requested by the window. My daughter was making a 10 hours drive home on one of the days and I was, to say the least, apprehensive. I checked my cell phone and realized there was no signal in the restaurant. I asked the waitress about this and she replied that you could not get reception in the restaurant but "you can walk down the street towards ND to get it." Seriously? I told her I did not want to make a call but wanted to be able to receive one if my daughter needed help or called. She just replied "sorry!"
The first time I went, I took my son who was a Senior at Notre Dame. He liked the food but said it was too expensive especially with 5 Guys, and Chitpole across the street. So I would talk to Jonathon, the owner, about his wait staff because they will really miss out on their target group...
I will never dine in again because of the blocked cell reception, I'll probably order take out though because the food and especially the desserts are fabulous....
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:02 am

Happy Mom, if you know the owner (I do not), please feel free to forward him my comments and also my response to BBM's inquiry. If he is not responsible for this policy, he clearly has staff that are impacting his business, and if he is responsible for it, he should know he has cost himself thousands of dollars of revenue from people whom this policy offends.
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby backstagedee » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:06 pm

Happy Mom wrote:I have had the exact same experience at The Mark although both times were at lunchtime. The food is incredible but our waitress was downright rude. Both times, we were led to be seated in the back and both times, I requested by the window. My daughter was making a 10 hours drive home on one of the days and I was, to say the least, apprehensive. I checked my cell phone and realized there was no signal in the restaurant. I asked the waitress about this and she replied that you could not get reception in the restaurant but "you can walk down the street towards ND to get it." Seriously? I told her I did not want to make a call but wanted to be able to receive one if my daughter needed help or called. She just replied "sorry!"
The first time I went, I took my son who was a Senior at Notre Dame. He liked the food but said it was too expensive especially with 5 Guys, and Chitpole across the street. So I would talk to Jonathon, the owner, about his wait staff because they will really miss out on their target group...
I will never dine in again because of the blocked cell reception, I'll probably order take out though because the food and especially the desserts are fabulous....


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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:58 pm

backstagedee wrote:
Happy Mom wrote:I have had the exact same experience at The Mark although both times were at lunchtime. The food is incredible but our waitress was downright rude. Both times, we were led to be seated in the back and both times, I requested by the window. My daughter was making a 10 hours drive home on one of the days and I was, to say the least, apprehensive. I checked my cell phone and realized there was no signal in the restaurant. I asked the waitress about this and she replied that you could not get reception in the restaurant but "you can walk down the street towards ND to get it." Seriously? I told her I did not want to make a call but wanted to be able to receive one if my daughter needed help or called. She just replied "sorry!"
The first time I went, I took my son who was a Senior at Notre Dame. He liked the food but said it was too expensive especially with 5 Guys, and Chitpole across the street. So I would talk to Jonathon, the owner, about his wait staff because they will really miss out on their target group...
I will never dine in again because of the blocked cell reception, I'll probably order take out though because the food and especially the desserts are fabulous....


http://www.carbonated.tv/lifestyle/fran ... heir-looks



Thanks BSD.....really makes me feel good.... :cry:
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby Kingsman » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:33 pm

I’m getting a sinking feeling as I read this thread. Mrs. K and I went to Papa Vino’s for lunch this week and were shepherded through the main dining room to a booth by the private party room in back. I remarked that the last time we were there, our table was a few feet away. I remember a third time that we were seated in the back room. This is not good for my self-esteem.
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby backstagedee » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:06 pm

Happy Mom wrote:
backstagedee wrote:
Happy Mom wrote:I have had the exact same experience at The Mark although both times were at lunchtime. The food is incredible but our waitress was downright rude. Both times, we were led to be seated in the back and both times, I requested by the window. My daughter was making a 10 hours drive home on one of the days and I was, to say the least, apprehensive. I checked my cell phone and realized there was no signal in the restaurant. I asked the waitress about this and she replied that you could not get reception in the restaurant but "you can walk down the street towards ND to get it." Seriously? I told her I did not want to make a call but wanted to be able to receive one if my daughter needed help or called. She just replied "sorry!"
The first time I went, I took my son who was a Senior at Notre Dame. He liked the food but said it was too expensive especially with 5 Guys, and Chitpole across the street. So I would talk to Jonathon, the owner, about his wait staff because they will really miss out on their target group...
I will never dine in again because of the blocked cell reception, I'll probably order take out though because the food and especially the desserts are fabulous....


http://www.carbonated.tv/lifestyle/fran ... heir-looks



Thanks BSD.....really makes me feel good.... :cry:


I'm sure that's not the case with you. Just an example, err, well, Boy, wasn't it windy today? :whistle:
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Re: The Mark Tap & Grill - Hmmmm...

Postby BobbyBeetleMishawaka » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:09 pm

That's odd. When I take my twenty-something daughters out to eat we always get a nice table.
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